In 2013 programmatic buying gained considerable traction across the digital advertising ecosystem. Over the next 12 months we are likely to see this trend continuing as it gains an even greater foothold, and brand advertisers turn to sophisticated programmatic buying platforms to help them plan, execute and optimise their video ad campaigns. On top of this, advanced measurement and reporting tools will be made available to help advertisers maximise the value of brands’ digital investments, and this will ultimately see the gap between the digital and TV worlds closing. With that in mind, here are my four predictions for 2014.
1. The majority of digital video ads will be bought programmatically
It may seem like a bold prediction, but I believe that by the end of 2014 we’ll see around 60% of digital video ad buys being done programmatically. Advertisers have already wholeheartedly adopted programmatic for their display buys, with over half of all display ads being bought this way. Growth in programmatic buying for digital media has far surpassed predictions, hitting $7.4 billion in total spend in 2013, versus an earlier prediction of $3.4 billion for the year, said Magna Global, a unit of Interpublic's Mediabrands.
Programmatic buys, done both on open and private exchanges, will similarly transform the video ad industry – making it more automated, measurable and transparent. Traditional TV advertisers will also adopt programmatic buying to extend campaigns across digital screens, which will bring us closer to closing the gap between the digital and TV worlds. Because of this massive shift toward programmatic buying, media-based ad networks will continue to struggle, while technology-driven programmatic platforms and private exchanges will proliferate.
2. Publishers will make premium inventory available on programmatic
Throughout 2014, more and more publishers will make inventory available via programmatic platforms. The premium inventory that these publishers used to sell only through direct relationships will instead be made available on private exchanges, ensuring bids from only high-quality brands. I believe that we will see publishers experimenting with different types of private exchanges, including closed environments where only one advertiser may bid on inventory (a sort of programmatic-direct model), as well as controlled environments where a limited number of ‘invited’ brands can bid on inventory.
Advertisers want to manage their video buys on programmatic platforms, so publishers will follow suit and enter the programmatic world. Publishers will partner with video ad platforms that provide the necessary tools to help them efficiently automate the sale of their premium inventory via programmatic channels. That means 2014 may well be the year we see programmatic ‘upfronts’, where publishers provide advertisers a first look at premium inventory and preferred ad rates. All in all, there will be a big shift in the perception of programmatic inventory, from cheap and remnant ad space, to valuable premium inventory.
3. Advanced measurement and real-time data will close the gap between TV and digital video
TV and digital video are two sides of the same coin, and in 2014, we’ll see them move closer together than ever before. Advertisers will begin to harness the power of real-time data and automated buying platforms to make integrated TV and digital ad buys – optimising targeting across screens. To make this integrated world a reality, advertisers will adopt advanced and robust measurement and analytics for their digital video and TV ad campaigns, so they can spot synergies between platforms and optimise based on cross-channel results. Video ad platforms will work closely with leading TV measurement companies to provide the latest in real-time metrics technologies that enable greater insights into multi-screen audience measurement. By the end of 2014, the TV and digital industries will come together to define a common standard for video viewability, while making strong advances to identify common measurement metrics across screens.
4. Mobile video advertising gets new measurement standards
We already know that mobile video advertising is the fastest-growing digital ad segment, and that growth will continue to skyrocket in 2014. As mobile video becomes a cornerstone of brands’ marketing budgets, they will demand more robust measurement standards. Mobile video ad spend has so far increased on the basis of extremely high click-through and conversion, but advertisers will increasingly seek ways to accurately measure engagement and brand impact, as well as cross-channel impact.
Expect to see industry standards emerge to measure mobile video ad effectiveness across the ‘four screens’ of TV, desktop, smartphone and tablet. Digital video ad networks will work with third-party measurement companies to provide an unbiased view of mobile video ad metrics, including brand engagement, ad interaction and audience reach. As such, we’ll see the MRAID and VPAID proposed mobile video ad measurement standards gain traction in 2014 – driving even more impressive growth in mobile video advertising.
Did you see this other guest pieces by CEO and founder of BrightRoll, Tod Sacerdoti: The Barbell Strategy: Equally Weighted, or Time to Take Sides?